John of Beverley vs. Martin de Porres

In the penultimate battle of the first round, it's John of Beverley vs. Martin de Porres. The people of Beverley and of Porres have been agitating for this matchup for years -- it's a huge rivalry and hooligans are involved.

Yesterday, Phocas the Gardener maintained his focus in burying Isidore the Farmer 60% to 40%. He'll face Katharina von Bora in the Saintly Sixteen.

If you missed yesterday's episode of the award-winning (in the SEC's own mind) Monday Madness, watch it here. And then, as punishment for missing it, watch it again.

John of Beverley

John of Beverley stained glassJohn of Beverley has a posse.

John was bishop of Hexham, then of York, England, where he was renowned for his preaching and dedicated to his students. He founded a monastery in Beverley, where he later retired and died in 721. Beverley became an important ecclesiastical center in John’s day and thrived after his death largely because of his cult following. He was canonized in 1037 by Pope Benedict IX.

But while John was at one time one of the most celebrated medieval English saints, his popularity since has waned. Little is known about his early life. None of his writings remain.

In fact, John probably is remembered best by the influence he had on others. Among his posse are Berthun, the first abbot of Beverley; Saint Wilfrid the Younger, who followed John as bishop of York; and, most notably, Saint Bede the Venerable, who was ordained by John and recorded a number of stories about him in his Ecclesiastical History of England.

“Those that knew him well are wont to tell many miracles,” Bede wrote. That includes John healing a man with a scabby head who was able to speak for the first time and grow “hair curling in comely fashion.”

After his death, John also reportedly appeared to Julian of Norwich in a vision. She described him in The Showings of Julian of Norwich as “a very exalted saint, who is also a neighbor close at hand, and we are all acquainted with him.”

To Julian, the life of John of Beverley illustrated that “even some very serious sinners are honored by Holy Church here on earth and in heaven for all eternity.”

To the rest of us, his example is a reminder that we may never know the impact we have on others— those in our posses and those who cross our paths, and even those God touches through our legacies long after our earthly lives have ended.

Collect for John of Beverley
God of time and space, you have called each of us to holy tasks and given us companions for our journey: Look with favor upon us, and grant that like your servant John of Beverley, we may be good stewards for our friends and family and living examples of your love and mercy, so that when the account of our lives is given, we may be found to have befriended your Son our Lord Jesus Christ in each face we have greeted. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.

-Emily McFarlan Miller

Martin de Porres

Martin de PorresMartin de Porres Velázquez experienced many challenges at the hands of others, but he transformed his hardships into ministry and a lifelong commitment to providing aid to the downtrodden.

Martin hailed from Peru, where he was born on December 9, 1579. He and his sister were considered illegitimate children—their mother was a freed slave and their father was a Spanish nobleman who abandoned the family when he saw the children’s dark skin. Martin endured a life of bullying and abuse. Limited by certain social mores, Martin turned to a trade that his status in life would allow, training as a barber and a surgeon.

He aspired to join the Dominicans, but at the time, they did not allow brothers with such a background as Martin—his dark skin and illegitimate birth. Undaunted, Martin became a lay helper to the Dominicans at age fifteen, starting as a donado, a volunteer who lived in the community, wore the habit, and carried out menial, unwanted tasks.

In time, however, after witnessing Martin’s deep Christian faith and ministry, the Dominicans dropped the rule that “no black person may be received to the holy habit or profession of our Order.” Martin professed his religious vows to the Dominicans in 1603 at the age of twenty-four.

Martin was zealous in his work for those who had no hope. He established orphanages and hospitals and ministered tirelessly to the poor and the forgotten. His caring and compassion for the sick were well-known and highly regarded. According to tradition, Martin also exhibited miraculous behavior, from providing instant cures to having the ability to fly.

Martin died November 3, 1639. He was beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI and canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. He is honored on August 23.

Martin is the patron saint of hairstylists, innkeepers, lottery winners, mixed-race people, Peru, poor people, public schools, television, Mexico, public health workers, and all who endeavor for racial reconciliation.

Collect for Martin de Porres
Merciful God, you sent your Gospel to the people of Peru through Martin de Porres, who brought its comfort even to slaves. Help us to follow his example in bringing fearlessly the comfort of your grace to all downtrodden and outcast people, that your Church may be renewed with songs of salvation and praise; through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

-Neva Rae Fox

John of Beverley vs. Martin de Porres

  • Martin de Porres (84%, 6,063 Votes)
  • John of Beverley (16%, 1,169 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,232

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John of Beverley: By Loole (self) (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Martin de Porres: By Anonymous [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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216 comments on “John of Beverley vs. Martin de Porres”

    1. Yes, and he didn't give up the first time he was turned away at the monastery. He persisted and became a Dominican -- as he'd hoped to.

      1. And yet he persisted. Very true! He didn't let the system get him down. He just kept keeping on. He is one of my faves of the RC church.

    2. Good point, Oliver. I voted for Martin, too, for the same reason you did, and also because he worked to eradicate racism.

  1. I first learned about Martin de Porres during Lent Madness 2012, and glad to see he's back. I voted for Martin because of that, because of Peru! and because he's the patron of public health workers. Vote for Martin! #LentMadnessSoWhite

  2. I picked st. Martin for his great devotion and overcoming of racial and birth categories in his quest to serve God.

  3. I was planning on voting for St. Martin even before I read that he was the patron saint of lottery winners. As a person who aspires to win the lottery one day, I now know who will be in my corner. It would truly be miraculous as I don’t usually buy lottery tickets.

    1. Good luck with your aspirations Sheila! I trust that St Martin will put in a word for you.

    2. Sheila, I love your comment! My husband often asks if we won the lottery, knowing we have played a total of 3 scratch-off tickets in our life! I was planning to vote for Martin because he is the name I drew in Lent Madness. I know a little about him from Catholic school and am happy to learn more about his faithfulness and compassion. Plus - a saint that can fly

  4. I voted for John as my wife's name is Beverley (named for her grandfather Beverley)

      1. I did not mean to imply that St. Martin would insist we vote for him in order to petition his help (for the sake of all of our children.) His victory looks likely but public schools should be a bipartisan concern.

          1. Word Nerd, unable to resist an enticing deer I ate (stet — Spellcheck, I am in awe of thee), has pursued this. I actually guessed half of it — it means “in the wood of Deira,” Deira being the region.

        1. I wonder if the 5% pay raise for public school teachers in West Virginia today could be partially attributable to St. Martin's showing here? (As well as the successful strike...)

  5. It was a no-brainer for me. Martin all the way. My parents taught me about Martin when I was very young, because there was a church named for him in our city and I asked who he was (at that time he was "Blessed Martin de Porres," having not yet been canonized. Happy to see him here in Lent Madness.

  6. No doubts and no questions today. The well-documented life of Martin speaks volumes for today's followers of this Madness. How appropriate for our own times!

  7. I was planning to vote for John "None of his writings remain" - the dread of most scholars - with the hopeful "example is a reminder that we may never know the impact we have on others" but decided to go for Martin, patron saint of hairstylists and mixed-race people (remembering our Rector a former barber, and my mixed-race children, and all who endeavor for racial reconciliation).
    I find amusement at
    John healing a man... [able to] grow “hair curling in comely fashion".
    pitted against
    Martin, the barber and a surgeon.

  8. Not doing so good lately w/my picks, but I'm going w/John today because
    even though he didn't leave anything written by him, he lives through the lives
    he influences.

  9. Martin got my vote. I was tearing up when I got to the end of Neva Rae Fox's beautiful account of his life and work, work we call all do today in the service of God's Kingdom (well, maybe not the flying bits). All this despite my affection for anyone who touched the life of the Venomous Bede (1066 and All That)!

    1. Venomous Bede? Oh no! Is that a spellcheck demon, or is there something about dear Bede that I don’t know? Say it ain’t so!

      1. It's a joke based on an old book titled "1066 and All That" by W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman, with Illustrations by John Reynolds. It appeared as a serial in the British comic publication Punch and was first published by Methuen in 1930. It is billed as a book that gives you all of English history you remember, and not only that but *as* you remember it, which means garbled and mixed up. It also contains a list of errata like "on p. 68 for 'sausages' read 'hostages.' Not surprisingly in the medieval part of the history Bede is remembered as "the venomous Bead," which gives you another idea of its schoolboy humor (or humour). If you would see the whole book, which is still in print, the ISBN for the Barnes & Noble edition is 978-1566191661. It's also available on various devices, but since most of my upper body exercise is raising and lowering books, I don't do devices. My sisters and I were raised to be complete Anglophiles, so when we talk on the phone we communicated by singing lines from Gilbert and Sullivan, quoting Monty Python, and fragments of "Three Men in a Boat" and "1066 and All That." So you see, the real Bede is in no way venomous! I hope this sets your mind at rest, Susan. cheers, ~jl

        1. Love the trivia, John. Thanks. BTW my great-great-grandfather was John Lewis from Marshfield MA. We must be related.

      2. Obviously Mom had two boys and chose to name them both Bede, figuring at least one of them would be dead before adulthood.
        The Venomous Bede is the younger brother of the Venerable Bede. He had a beverage named after him (Beady Beer, if memory serves), and was constantly annoying his older brother with his naughty humor.
        In his lifetime the Venomous Bede was actually more well known than the Venerable Bede because his humor was so popular, and his jokes were translated into several languages. He also was noted for work in domesticating dangerous snakes, hence, of course, his nickname. He was very well known, but the Vatican, never a fan of humor, censored all of his works, and as a result, his story is lost, save in a few very rare publications, of which I had the only surviving copies until they were accidentally eaten by mice while my back was turned.

        1. I have forgotten the name--but a 19th C British wit whose brother was a bishop or something, is said to have quipped, "He rose by his gravity, and I sank by my levity." The Bede Bros obviously were their prototype.

  10. This was the most difficult decision. Both were saints I truly admire.

  11. Tougher than I thought at first glance. I lived in Beverly, Mass, didn't know Manny though. One of my kids was born there. I have been blessed and surprised by people, many of them children, who talked about memories and influence I had in their lives. Looked like John had my vote. BUT Martin, was outcast for things over which he had no control, yet he loved and persevered. He struggled for and with the marginalized and for these he won out in the end.

  12. Interesting that both have reference to hair . . . and while Martin trained for it, Bede's account of John's miracle that included the growth "hair curling in comely fashion" turned my head. So to speak.

  13. I had a brother Martin who died young but wanted to be a priest. It is also very impressive that he broke the color barrier very early in his life. thinking also of my mixed race grandchildren.

  14. I was inclined to vote for John because he was an educator whose contributions are known mostly through influences on others. Then I learned that Martin was the patron saint of public schools. Maybe by voting for him, US public education will be granted a miracle.

  15. If I could only fly! Martin has quite a story. But with Bede in his corner, it is John of Beverley for me.

  16. What? Martin de Porres is the patron saint of mixed-race people? In honor of my African-American-German sons, I will vote for him!

  17. I love Martin's dedication to underserved populations. Also I frequently call my cat (whose name is Martin) Martin de Purres.

  18. I just had to vote for Martin, because "he persisted!" Facing discrimination by his own father, and then by a monastic order? Boggles the mind, that does! But instead of becoming bitter, he volunteered, and was diligent in his faith and ministry to those even less fortunate than he. No contest here for my vote!

  19. I got interrupted and have no idea if I voted once or twice for Martin. Sorry if I did. I have a wonderful terra cotta statue of Martin with his broom, a plate of bread with a cat and mouse about to enjoy a feast, two birds on his head and shoulder and a dog at his feet. Obviously I voted for him; hopefully not twice.

  20. It seems to me that the man reported as “healing a man with a scabby head who was able to speak for the first time and grow “hair curling in comely fashion” should be the patron saint of hairstylists.

  21. I was touched by the idea of positive influences on others being such a great blessing and miracle, to which we all can aspire. However, I loved Martin because of his perseverance in the face of discrimination, his tireless ministry to the poor, the sick the orphaned and forgotten, and to Peru, which I'll be visiting in a few months. It was obviously preordained.

  22. Children, poor,unwanted? Martin knew he was loved and wanted by God. It's good the Dominicans awoke to the fact!

    1. I voted for John, because even though is is not mentioned here, one of John's great qualities was his devotion to meditation and contemplation. Beverly, England was founded originally by John as a small chapel to use as a meditation retreat. If you love meditation and contemplative prayer, vote for John!

    2. Haskell, your post that "Martin knew he was loved and wanted by God" brought me to tears. It's something we often hear but today it really touched me. We can persist and rise with that knowledge in our hearts.
      Being a hairstylist for 30+ years, I have an affinity for both saints but it's Martin for me. I have several family members who are of mixed race, Persian/Irish, Hispanic/Caucasian and African-American/ Scandinavian. It's a beautiful melting pot that I love.
      St. Martin pray for us. For our racial reconciliation, for our public schools and for all to live in the knowledge that we are loved and wanted by God. Just imagine how we can effect the world through that lens.

  23. I didn't know there was a patron saints for lottery winners -- maybe that's why I haven't won yet! Martin gets my vote.

  24. I just can't bring myself to vote for one who was known to fly. Too bizarre for me, though evidently not for others.

    1. It seems normal for those of us who grew up watching "The Flying Nun'! LOL! So why not a Flying Monk?

      1. Oh wow, think of the remake possibilities for the patron saint of television--"The Flying Monk," starring Tony Shaloub as a detective who is able to levitate but is afraid of heights!

        1. That was a long wait between beatification and canonization! I guess fitting given how he had to wait to become a

  25. This was a no brainer, Martin all the way. Yes Marieclaire, I agree John of Beverly should be the patron saint of hairstylists.

  26. I'm going to honor the teacher and obvious long shot with a vote for John. And if he would like to intercede in the "hair curling in comely fashion" department, I'm ok with that.